British Nigerian actor David Oyelowo is set to star in a biographical drama about a Ugandan chess prodigy. The Disney production The Queen of Katwe, also stars Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.
Directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) and based on Tim Crothers’ book, the film stars Nalwanga as Phiona Mutsei, a young girl from the slums of Kampala who chases her dream of becoming an international chess champion.
Oyelowo plays a missionary who teaches chess to local kids and Nyong’o plays Phiona’s mother.
Largely shot on location in Uganda, The Queen of Katwe served as a homecoming of sorts for Nyong’o.
“It was so great to go back home,” the actress said at D23 Expo in August. “I’m from East Africa. I’m from Kenya, which is just next door to Uganda.”
She added, “This is a story about the commitment to a dream even in the most discouraging of situations. The slum of Katwe is a very difficult place to live, but you see these people living there with dignity and making it day by day. And so to go there and to have that environment to work from really did sober us and enliven us.”
The Queen of Katwe is scheduled to open in the fall.